CMDB students must pass their qualifying exams no later than the end of the Fall semester of their third year. Failure to complete the exam in this time may result in termination of the stipend. The exam will consist of the NIH (NRSA) style grant proposal and an oral defense of the proposal in front of his/her thesis committee. The committee will evaluate the student’s general scientific knowledge as well as the ability to formulate and defend the research hypotheses. To help students prepare for their qualifying exam, the second year CMDB curriculum will include a two-month course in scientific writing and grantsmanship where the student’s proposal will be reviewed in a mock NIH-style grant review session. After successful completion of the exam, it is expected that the student's proposal will be submitted to a funding agency (if applicable) for possible extramural support.